Alumni Talks

Alyssa Wei, Writer

ISL recently launched a new series that will undoubtedly help high school students who are struggling to figure out their future. Alumni Talks, as the name suggests, features ISL alumni who are invited to talk about their personal experiences on a variety of topics for approximately 30 minutes over lunchtime.  Caroline Leenders, the main organiser of the series, plans to introduce a variety of topics ranging from ‘Navigating the University Transition’ to ‘International Studying’. The main purpose of this series is to help current high school students make important decisions regarding life after ISL with the guidance of people who have already gone through the process. Current students will also have a chance to see what life after ISL is like and where ISL alumni have ended up around the world. 

As someone who has continuously debated between US and UK universities, I found the first Alumni Talk extremely engaging and informative as I got to hear both sides of the story from two different alumni. Not only did I get personal accounts of vastly different university experiences, but it was fascinating to attend a casual interaction between two older students. For instance, the alumnus studying in  the city of Boston stated that “college there [US] is the typical American experience” whilst the alumna who studied in Edinburgh went on to live and work in Brussels after her fulfilling experience at the University of Edinburgh. 

In addition, seeing people who have made it out of the IB successfully brings a sense of relief and hope for those who are currently struggling to balance the high demands of IB school work and life. Unless you are close to an older student or have a graduated sibling, it can be difficult to obtain raw information that hasn’t been processed and glossed over by university admissions offices. Contrary to traditional university webinars, the Alumni Talks is more focused on personal feelings and experiences, rather than the usual bullet-pointed facts. 

By taking the responsibility of learning more about university life, students are able to take matters into their own hands and make their own decisions. As children, we were often told by our parents to follow a specific life path. Now, as young adults in a world with so many opportunities, it is more crucial than ever to reflect and think about what you really want. Taking one step at a time, listening to others who have walked the path that you are about to walk is just the beginning.

Make sure to tune in March 30th for the next Alumni Talks regarding career experiences!